NEW YORK (AP) - Opening his first news conference since the election, President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday responded to suggestions that U.S. intelligence agencies leaked unsubstantiated reports to the media about his relationship with Russia, calling it a "tremendous blot on their record if they did that."
"I think it's a disgrace that information would be let out. I saw the information, I read the information outside of that meeting," he said, a reference to a classified briefing he received from intelligence leaders. "It's all fake news, it's phony stuff, it didn't happen. It was gotten by opponents of ours," Trump declared in his first news conference since late July.
Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer were defiant as they denounced reports that Russia had obtained compromising personal and financial information about the incoming president. Trump said the report never should have been released and thanked news organizations that showed restraint.
Trump will put his business assets in a trust and take other steps to isolate himself from his company, said the lawyer, who spoke to reporters before Trump's first news conference since his election Nov. 8. The lawyer requested anonymity to discuss details of the plan.
The move appears to contradict a previous pledge by Trump, who pledged in a tweet last month to do "no new deals" while in office.
To help allay concerns about conflicts of interest, Trump will hand managerial control of his company to his two adult sons and a longtime business executive. The lawyer who advised Trump also said that the Trump Organization will appoint an ethics adviser to its management team who must approve deals that could raise concerns about conflicts.
The plan falls short of what some government ethics experts have been urging Trump to do: sell his assets and put the cash in a blind trust overseen by an independent managers, as many recent presidents have done.
Others have said that is impractical given his that selling real estate takes time and the sprawling nature of his business.
Trump has stakes in 500 companies in about 20 countries.
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